Michael Adoration Fest

As we proceeded with our normal summer day of doing animal chores, checking on the garden, and hanging out with the kids in turns or altogether, I found myself to be happy in a very simple way. I took notice of how easy it is to have fun with Michael and the kids.

I watched Michael act like a monster with an effortlessly twisted face and hunched over prance as he chased Winnie around the table. He is always like this- making everyone laugh in a way that’s a little unpredictable.

I always admire Michael for his ease in living. He never takes himself seriously while simultaneously living with intention. It’s really cool and oddly rare.

I considered what the world would be like if we all lived like this- true to our inner child for a whole lifetime, unencumbered by societal expectations or loads of stress.

It is a well-known sentiment that having kids brings out reminders of simple joys and child-like wonder. While I do think this helps, I yearn for a culture that celebrates these as skills in all stages of life- simplified joy and wonder in schooling, jobs, adult relationships, friendships, neighboring, etc.

I want us all to see and love the inner child of everyone everywhere, including ourselves. We all have child-like wonders alive inside of us. Dare I say- they are the best parts of who we are.

I like to think about meeting Michael. It makes me smile to think about a time right after college where societal expectations were knocking hard at my rickety apartment door inside an old brick building in a city where my feet rarely touched dirt. Distractions were abundant there on Girard Avenue in Uptown Minneapolis.

Four years of college had been a grind. Playing soccer, pursuing my nursing degree, dating or something like it, and working random part time jobs left little time for clarity. Also, I was 22 years old- my brain was not fully formed and routinely intoxicated.

Then, one night, I met Michael. He came into my life with a lot of bells and whistles- immediate magic tricks dubbing him “the magic man” by a few of my friends.

There was 2am piano playing complete with serenades, donning of fur coats and painted nails (by him, not me), skateboard tricks, rock climbing, and a roommate named Jimmy who often matched Michael in fur coats, manicures, and ridiculous humor.

I loved Michael immediately- not in that very romantic way, but in the way that the child in me saw the child in him and vice versa. We became ourselves together without expectations or judgements.

I certainly didn’t think I would marry my goofy neighbor in the fur coat with weird magic tricks but I loved everything that he was. I was happy to be around him no matter the timeline.

When I met Michael, I was casually dating another guy (who I’ll call Ryan because I truly can’t remember his name). Michael would come to my apartment uninvited while Ryan was visiting and insert himself into our hangout.

Michael would simply outlast Ryan’s waking hours (who was 34 years old then so we’ll give him a pass; I am asleep by 9pm now too). Ryan fell asleep on my couch while Michael and I hung out longer, telling stories and laughing like kids.

I pegged Michael as the friend who was unaware of social boundaries and etiquette, the type of guy we roll our eyes at but love anyway. Michael informed me later that this was all “part of the plan” to help dissolve my casual dating experience. Turns out, Michael was onto the idea of us being us all along.

I’m grateful that I didn’t meet Michael before the age of 22. He was always my soulmate, and I don’t know how the teenage versions of us would have handled that.

This writing got diverted when my mind wanted to sit with early memories of Michael. I landed there when I considered how Michael has always been exactly himself- very curious, happy, aware, adventurous and unfiltered. I can imagine he was the same at age 6 and 13, and now at 35. I’ve loved his consistencies. I’ve loved his surprises.

I didn’t mean to turn this blog into a Michael Adoration Fest. His ego does not need that :).

I am ready to get back on track to the point of this meandering blog which is: seeing and accepting the inner child of another human being has been one of my most favorite and rewarding practices of love. With Michael, it has been easy. My inner child loved his inner child on impact.

We all have this inner child, someone that comes from a really good place. The day before our dear friend John died, we visited him with both of our kids in tow. John was becoming more nonsensical at this point but amidst his talk about astrology and math, he said to Michael, “I am closer to Hutch now than I am to you. I am closer to where Hutch is.” In talking about this later, we think that John knew he was close to that good place, that place where we all come from.

There is a quote I love by Ram Dass that says, “We’re all just walking each other home.” I have repeated this quote to myself in tense or sad situations at work. This mantra helps me remember that my job as a nurse is to support someone in the way that I or my family might also need someday.

It is really quite simple- when all the nonsense is stripped away, we are all the same, doing this life together. While it is an honor to be the one walking the other, I’m aware that I won’t always be on that end of things.

To see and accept each human’s inner child is just a fun way of coexisting. I feel it with Michael every day. It is easy with friends, and when I go to work, it is a bit of a fun challenge to find that piece of each person I meet.

While some people have worked hard to cover the goofy and simple version of themselves, others flow freely with their lovable quirks.

Either way, if my inner child is alive in me, I think the people around me feel safe to let theirs breathe too. Soon, with a little vulnerability and acceptance, we can just be a couple of kids wearing fur coats and doing magic tricks. The world is a lot lighter in a room like that.